They are the words you can’t escape at work — in meetings, in emails, and on phone calls. Some buzzwords are so powerful that they even make their way from business jargon into our casual conversations (and social media posts), too.
Let’s do a 360 review: Where did the word “buzzword” come from in the first place? According to Inquiries Journal, an open-access academic journal, “buzzword” was a buzzword itself, coined in the middle of the 20th century by Harvard University students as a form of slang referring to “key words in a lecture or reading.” The term has only assumed its current meaning in the past two decades.
Should we stay “laser-focused” (a popular buzzword used in Virginia employment ads, according to Business Insider) on using these terms? Or should we be “incentivized” to avoid them (a popular term used in Maryland employment ads)?
If buzzwords are on your radar, we can circle back later to make sure we are on the same page in our crystal-balling about the new buzzwords that come out nearly every day. Maybe spitball a few ideas. But if your plate’s full, perhaps it’s time to move the needle and pivot to just speaking plainly, if that’s even possible in our nation of buzzwordification. After all, it is what it is.
10 Most Hated Business Buzzwords:
- Think outside the box
- Moving forward/Going forward
- Circle back
- It’s on my radar
- On the same page
- Bring to the table
- New normal
5 Terms Most Likely to Be Red Flags in Job Postings:
- Rock star
- Wear many hats
- Thick skin
- Work hard, play hard
- Schedule TBD
Unusual Buzzword Phrases You Can Adopt:
- Aggressive mediocrity = A conscious effort to ensure that the bare minimum, and nothing more, is achieved
- Bag of snakes = A business situation with many unexpected problems
- Blamestorming = Meeting to discuss a failure and find a scapegoat
- Putting socks on an octopus = Attempting an impossible task
- Sausage and sizzle = Used to compare substance (sausage) vs. marketing spin (sizzle)
Sources: preply.com and theofficelife.com
This story originally ran in our April issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.